Forklifts and material handling equipment are a crucial part of running your business efficiently, so it is essential to always look after them. Daily forklift inspections combined with a yearly Thorough Examination, will ensure that your forklifts are both safe and efficient for use. But, which forklift checks are a legal requirement?

Similar to a car MOT, a Thorough Examination of forklift trucks (also known as a LOLER) is a legal requirement that your forklift needs to undergo at least once a year under health and safety laws:

  • LOLER 1998, which covers the lifting equipment on your machine
  • PUWER 1998, which deals with all other safety-related items (such as brakes, steering and tyres)

The Thorough Examination is intended to:

  • Verify that the truck is operating correctly when lifting and travelling
  • Identify defects which could compromise the safe use of the truck
  • Specify the time-scales in which identified defects or weaknesses need to be rectified
  • Assess the correct function of all safety devices
  • Check that warning notices are correctly fixed and legible
  • Specify any limitations on the use of the truck

Who Can Carry Out the Forklift Inspections?

This must be completed by a competent person. The LOLER guidelines state that a competent person has ‘appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience of the lifting equipment’ and must be familiar with the current national health and safety regulations. The check must not be carried out by the same person who has worked on and maintained the truck.

A Thorough Examination is different to your scheduled/daily inspections and is mandatory to ensure that the mechanical parts of your forklift are in safe working order. Records must be kept of all Thorough Examinations, and any issues found must be reported to both the person responsible for the equipment and the relevant authority. If the forklift is provided on a short-term hire contract of under a year, the hire company is responsible for providing the user with a copy of the Report of Thorough Examination.


How Often Should Forklift Checks Take Place?

Thorough Examinations must be carried every 12 months at a minimum. Depending on the application and intensity of use, this may need to be more frequent as per the following guidance:

12 month intervals:

  • Any truck working up to 40 hours per week including attachments permanently fitted to the truck.

6 month intervals:

  • Machines working between 40 and 80 hours per week
  • Machines with an elevating operator position
  • Machines used for lifting persons

4 month intervals:

  • Any truck working in excess of 80 hours per week.
  • Any truck working in hard environments (marine environments, corrosive chemical environments, metal manufacturing or processing, cement processing or an environment where abrasive particles are present, brine processed, cold stores below -10 degrees).

It is important to check with your health and safety adviser to ensure you are getting the appropriate checks when needed.

Following the examination, a report will be provided to identify any defects, requirements and recommendations which must be kept for a minimum of two years.

Pre-use Forklift Examinations

Employers and employees have general health and safety duties under the Health and Safety at Work, Act 1974. Daily pre-use inspections are a legal requirement to ensure the forklift is in a safe condition before use. All faults found during the checks must be recorded and immediately reported. This pre-use inspection should be carried out by the operator, who does not need to be an engineer, but they should be familiar with how the forklift truck should function. The company is responsible for ensuring these checks are happening and being properly recorded. A thorough checklist will ensure all records are kept correctly, failure to do this may result in no cover in the case of an accident.

Maintaining Your Fleet

All forklift users have a legal responsibility to ensure their trucks have undergone all relevant inspections and checks, and they can provide this documentation if required. In addition to being a legal requirement, keeping every machine operating to maximum efficiency is key to ensuring productivity. The best way to keep your forklift fleet in optimal condition is by maintaining a strict and thorough routine of inspection and maintenance. 

Ensuring your forklifts’ needs are kept on top of is an essential part of making sure your trucks run in a smooth and optimal way. Having professional support on-hand when you need it will give you the peace of mind that operations won’t be greatly impacted by any maintenance your forklift requires.

Fortunately, at PHL, not only do we offer a huge range of  fully-maintained and inspected forklift trucks, we also offer specialist service and support when you need it most.  Check out our forklift range today.


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